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California Assembly Passes Bill For Amsterdam-Style Cafés with Huge Support

On Wednesday, a State Assembly bill advocating the creation of cannabis cafés similar to those in Amsterdam garnered widespread approval across political lines, passing with a vote of 64-9. This bill allows cannabis cafés to operate in California, similar to those in Amsterdam where customers can consume cannabis on-site, while also enjoying food.

California could soon see a new type of cannabis establishment, thanks to AB 374. This bill would allow the sale of non-infused products, making for a more welcoming, coffee-shop atmosphere. While current laws prohibit the sale of such products, AB 374 is set to change that.

The bill's author, State Assemblymember Matt Haney said, "Lots of people want to enjoy legal cannabis in the company of others, and many people want to do that while sipping coffee, eating a scone, or listening to music."

Haney went on to say, "If an authorized cannabis retail store wants to also sell a cup of coffee and a sandwich, we should allow cities to make that possible and stop holding back these small businesses."

California's cannabis culture is getting a boost with a new bill that aims to position the state as a rival to Amsterdam. Currently known for its more than 700 cafes that allow cannabis use on their premises, Amsterdam rakes in a staggering $1 billion annually. The California bill seeks to build on the state's rich roots in cannabis culture, setting it up for good competition.

The bill aims to transform the industry from a traditional pharmacy-like business model to one that is more social. It also seeks to promote cannabis tourism in areas that are struggling economically whilst offering greater business diversification opportunities for the struggling industry.

Major health-related industry groups, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association, are currently opposing the bill.

In a letter of opposition to lawmakers, three groups argued that the proposed bill could transform cannabis establishments into restaurants and put workers at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals. This would force employees to prioritize their jobs over their health, which is not acceptable. California has worked tirelessly to safeguard the well-being of its labor force and create a smoke-free workplace, and the proposed AB 374 would jeopardize those efforts by recreating hazardous work conditions from the past.

AB 374 seeks to transform the cannabis industry in California and create a more social atmosphere for customers, while also promoting tourism and business diversification opportunities. Although Amsterdam has had success with its coffee shop model, it is now facing issues due to belligerent tourists taking advantage of the relaxed regulations. If this bill passes into law, California will have an opportunity to learn from Amsterdam’s mistakes and develop a successful system that creates safe environments where people can enjoy cannabis products responsibly. With these considerations in mind, AB 374 could be just what California needs to enter the world stage as a major player in cannabis culture.

Next, the bill will be headed to the State Senate for approval.

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